Tag Archives: Donal O’Grady

Cometh the hour, cometh the man . . . right?

One of the reasons the GAA will never be able to compete with cross-channel soccer in hogging newspaper column inches is the lack of churn. All those lovely transfers on which to endlessly speculate and pontificate upon. And if there aren’t any transfers, you just make them up. It’s not as if anyone will check today’s fish & chip wrapping to find out what you said yesterday.

With that in mind, pronouncements on the certainty of Michael Ryan being appointed as the next Waterford manager should be treated with caution. If nothing else, the article in the link mentions that he will the first Waterford-born manager of the county since ‘Jim Mansfield’. Good to see NAMA bailing out one of our own. The story is speculative by nature, but there is some thought behind it, i.e he’s the last man standing. To avoid a long paragraph filled with commas, let’s look at the alleged candidates in list form:

  • Jason Ryan: the man to whose mast I had so brazenly nailed my colours is staying with the Yellabellies.
  • John Allen: Limerick-bound. I can’t say I’ll be lamenting missing out on him. His articles in the Irish Times over the years showed a man who fancied himself as a latter-day Myles na Gopaleen – NB this is not a compliment, Myles was meant to be a clown – and his All-Ireland success was a legacy from Donal O’Grady. Speaking of whom . . .
  • Donal O’Grady: not interested in anything by the looks of it. A pity. Not only did he turn Limerick around, people forget the mess Cork were in when he took over – crushed by Galway in 2002, under O’Grady they’d be Munster champions in 2003 and All-Ireland champions in 2004. He’s clearly not a man given to Brian Cody-style empire building, so he might be available again in another five years.
  • Kevin Ryan: not interesting the selection committee. This is a weird one. Why should Kevin Ryan not applying for the job or being nominated rule him out, while Jason Ryan neither applying or being nominated leads to him being so surreptitiously courted?

So unless a left-field candidate like James O’Connor emerges, that leaves Michael Ryan. What to make of him? He has experience of winning All-Irelands with the Waterford ladies footballers, and his hurling credentials are formidable with De La Salle (an obvious weakness for Jason Ryan). And yes, being from Waterford is a positive thing. It’s not that external candidates offend against our sense of Waterfordness or that I think a local will be able to tap into some hitherto undiscovered pool of passion. But it’ll be good that we feel confident enough in our own structures that we don’t need to look outside for someone who can look past our parish pump politics in putting together the county panel (see: Boggus Gaagaa).

Still, there’s going to be a last-chicken-in-the-shop feel to the appointment of Michael Ryan. Steve McClaren never recovered from the ridicule heaped upon his head as being ‘Second Choice-Steve’ after the English FA finally accepted that Brian Clough was in no position to take the job. It shouldn’t be so blatant with Ryan, but the contrast with how unexciting an appointment it will be in comparison to Jason Ryan (just saying) will be obvious. With the best will in the world, it’s not a dynamic appointment. And surely more-of-the-same isn’t going to cut it.

The Colossus of the Village

Damn you, RTÉ. Before the All-Ireland final, when mulling on the possibility that Waterford might be mullered by Kilkenny, I decided that such an eventuality would be worthy of a post extolling the virtues of one Brian Cody. Then the sports jackets in the Sunday Game studio decided that the man was worthy of being selected as their Man of the Match. Quite apart from being a ridiculous choice that flies in the face of what the Man of the Match award is meant to be about (and one rightly derided by Hurling Blog), it screws up any concept of originality in highlighting Cody’s role in Kilkenny’s success.

But hey, not being original has never stopped me before, so let’s take a moment to genuflect in front of Cody’s greatness. A number of years back it was assumed that burnout was going to become an increasing feature of Gaelic games as the demands of pulling tractors up sand dunes with their teeth (thanks for that, Ger Loughnane) as a minimum requirement for an inter-county player proved overwhelming. Assuming that managers are not being paid (ahem), it would seem reasonable that mentors might feel the same. And no one has been at the coal face as long or as intensely as Brian Cody. In his ten years in charge, Kilkenny have been to the All-Ireland final eight times and been losing semi-finalists the other two years. It’s not as if success is something that keeps managers going. The only other All-Ireland winning managers in that time either left after winning it (Jimmy Barry Murphy and Donal O’Grady) or left the year after (Nicky English and John Allen). The idea of taking a tumble in the League so as not to show your hand before the Championship, supposedly a favourite of managers of all stripes in the past, has beeen scotched by Cody who treats every match as if it has to be won – or else.

The ruthlessness of the man is a wonder to behold. There can’t be a single person in hurling who hasn’t been antagonised by his behaviour at some point. A contributor on An Fear Rua recently quoted Cody as saying that a typical Kilkenny hurler should be honest, thrifty, hard working and other such blarney that fits in with the Kilkenny self-image of their players being Boy Scouts compared to the pencil moustache type townies from Waterford. Yet where were such noble considerations when Cody was exploding with rage at the referee and the linesman against Galway back in 2004, a performance of Alex Ferguson-esque proportions. It’s a question best left to the philosophers: are people like Cody and Demento successful because they are bullies or are they bullies because they are successful? Either way, bullies is what they are.

The thing is, it isn’t just outsiders or officials who Cody clashes with. The faceoff with Charlie Carter in 2004 was one of the more remarkable stories in hurling in recent times. When Cody decided to put Charlie out to pasture, it antagonsied many – most? – in Kilkenny who thought that Charlie’s long years of service were about to be rewarded with a tilt at picking up the McCarthy Cup as captain in September. Cody blithely ignored the doubters, who almost seemed to be hoping he’d fall on his arse. The Charlie Carter page on Wikipedia has a claim that he “has never forgiven Cody”, something I offer not as evidence that this is true but to demonstrate that someone in Kilkenny has not forgotten. They’re probably from Gowran though, because everyone else in the county has been suitably cowed by Cody’s will to win and its by-product.

No doubt Kilkenny’s production line of talent helps, but such riches haven’t helped Tipperary much over recent years. In addition, Kilkenny now look far stronger at this point of their three-in-a-row than at any other point during it. Please, Mr Cody, step off the gas. Take your wife to dinner more often. Have a long holiday out foreign. Generally do the things that, since Gaelic games are supposedly so all-encompassing, mere mortal GAA folk can’t do any more. Either that, or <censored by WordPress>.

The Colossus of the Village

Damn you, RTÉ. Before the All-Ireland final, when mulling on the possibility that Waterford might be mullered by Kilkenny, I decided that such an eventuality would be worthy of a post extolling the virtues of one Brian Cody. Then the sports jackets in the Sunday Game studio decided that the man was worthy of being selected as their Man of the Match. Quite apart from being a ridiculous choice that flies in the face of what the Man of the Match award is meant to be about (and one rightly derided by Hurling Blog), it screws up any concept of originality in highlighting Cody’s role in Kilkenny’s success.

But hey, not being original has never stopped me before, so let’s take a moment to genuflect in front of Cody’s greatness. A number of years back it was assumed that burnout was going to become an increasing feature of Gaelic games as the demands of pulling tractors up sand dunes with their teeth (thanks for that, Ger Loughnane) as a minimum requirement for an inter-county player proved overwhelming. Assuming that managers are not being paid (ahem), it would seem reasonable that mentors might feel the same. And no one has been at the coal face as long or as intensely as Brian Cody. In his ten years in charge, Kilkenny have been to the All-Ireland final eight times and been losing semi-finalists the other two years. It’s not as if success is something that keeps managers going. The only other All-Ireland winning managers in that time either left after winning it (Jimmy Barry Murphy and Donal O’Grady) or left the year after (Nicky English and John Allen). The idea of taking a tumble in the League so as not to show your hand before the Championship, supposedly a favourite of managers of all stripes in the past, has beeen scotched by Cody who treats every match as if it has to be won – or else.

The ruthlessness of the man is a wonder to behold. There can’t be a single person in hurling who hasn’t been antagonised by his behaviour at some point. A contributor on An Fear Rua recently quoted Cody as saying that a typical Kilkenny hurler should be honest, thrifty, hard working and other such blarney that fits in with the Kilkenny self-image of their players being Boy Scouts compared to the pencil moustache type townies from Waterford. Yet where were such noble considerations when Cody was exploding with rage at the referee and the linesman against Galway back in 2004, a performance of Alex Ferguson-esque proportions. It’s a question best left to the philosophers: are people like Cody and Demento successful because they are bullies or are they bullies because they are successful? Either way, bullies is what they are.

The thing is, it isn’t just outsiders or officials who Cody clashes with. The faceoff with Charlie Carter in 2004 was one of the more remarkable stories in hurling in recent times. When Cody decided to put Charlie out to pasture, it antagonsied many – most? – in Kilkenny who thought that Charlie’s long years of service were about to be rewarded with a tilt at picking up the McCarthy Cup as captain in September. Cody blithely ignored the doubters, who almost seemed to be hoping he’d fall on his arse. The Charlie Carter page on Wikipedia has a claim that he “has never forgiven Cody”, something I offer not as evidence that this is true but to demonstrate that someone in Kilkenny has not forgotten. They’re probably from Gowran though, because everyone else in the county has been suitably cowed by Cody’s will to win and its by-product.

No doubt Kilkenny’s production line of talent helps, but such riches haven’t helped Tipperary much over recent years. In addition, Kilkenny now look far stronger at this point of their three-in-a-row than at any other point during it. Please, Mr Cody, step off the gas. Take your wife to dinner more often. Have a long holiday out foreign. Generally do the things that, since Gaelic games are supposedly so all-encompassing, mere mortal GAA folk can’t do any more. Either that, or <censored by WordPress>.

The Colossus of the Village

Damn you, RTÉ. Before the All-Ireland final, when mulling on the possibility that Waterford might be mullered by Kilkenny, I decided that such an eventuality would be worthy of a post extolling the virtues of one Brian Cody. Then the sports jackets in the Sunday Game studio decided that the man was worthy of being selected as their Man of the Match. Quite apart from being a ridiculous choice that flies in the face of what the Man of the Match award is meant to be about (and one rightly derided by Hurling Blog), it screws up any concept of originality in highlighting Cody’s role in Kilkenny’s success.

But hey, not being original has never stopped me before, so let’s take a moment to genuflect in front of Cody’s greatness. A number of years back it was assumed that burnout was going to become an increasing feature of Gaelic games as the demands of pulling tractors up sand dunes with their teeth (thanks for that, Ger Loughnane) as a minimum requirement for an inter-county player proved overwhelming. Assuming that managers are not being paid (ahem), it would seem reasonable that mentors might feel the same. And no one has been at the coal face as long or as intensely as Brian Cody. In his ten years in charge, Kilkenny have been to the All-Ireland final eight times and been losing semi-finalists the other two years. It’s not as if success is something that keeps managers going. The only other All-Ireland winning managers in that time either left after winning it (Jimmy Barry Murphy and Donal O’Grady) or left the year after (Nicky English and John Allen). The idea of taking a tumble in the League so as not to show your hand before the Championship, supposedly a favourite of managers of all stripes in the past, has beeen scotched by Cody who treats every match as if it has to be won – or else.

The ruthlessness of the man is a wonder to behold. There can’t be a single person in hurling who hasn’t been antagonised by his behaviour at some point. A contributor on An Fear Rua recently quoted Cody as saying that a typical Kilkenny hurler should be honest, thrifty, hard working and other such blarney that fits in with the Kilkenny self-image of their players being Boy Scouts compared to the pencil moustache type townies from Waterford. Yet where were such noble considerations when Cody was exploding with rage at the referee and the linesman against Galway back in 2004, a performance of Alex Ferguson-esque proportions. It’s a question best left to the philosophers: are people like Cody and Demento successful because they are bullies or are they bullies because they are successful? Either way, bullies is what they are.

The thing is, it isn’t just outsiders or officials who Cody clashes with. The faceoff with Charlie Carter in 2004 was one of the more remarkable stories in hurling in recent times. When Cody decided to put Charlie out to pasture, it antagonsied many – most? – in Kilkenny who thought that Charlie’s long years of service were about to be rewarded with a tilt at picking up the McCarthy Cup as captain in September. Cody blithely ignored the doubters, who almost seemed to be hoping he’d fall on his arse. The Charlie Carter page on Wikipedia has a claim that he “has never forgiven Cody”, something I offer not as evidence that this is true but to demonstrate that someone in Kilkenny has not forgotten. They’re probably from Gowran though, because everyone else in the county has been suitably cowed by Cody’s will to win and its by-product.

No doubt Kilkenny’s production line of talent helps, but such riches haven’t helped Tipperary much over recent years. In addition, Kilkenny now look far stronger at this point of their three-in-a-row than at any other point during it. Please, Mr Cody, step off the gas. Take your wife to dinner more often. Have a long holiday out foreign. Generally do the things that, since Gaelic games are supposedly so all-encompassing, mere mortal GAA folk can’t do any more. Either that, or <censored by WordPress>.